It’s pretty clear that Bills star receiver Sammy Watkins needs to have an unbelievable 2017 season if he wants to be back in Buffalo after this season. We all know that he needs to stay on the field, healthy and ready to go. Since the Bills traded up to get him #4 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, he has only played one full season. He is leaning towards bust status and is on the verge of not being back with the Bills.
The 2014 draft was wide receiver loaded. There were five receivers taken in the first round in 2014, featuring players like Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks. They all produce well for their teams, but Watkins isn’t living up to the hype of the first receiver chosen in 2014.
Sammy Watkins: 153 catches, 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in 37 games.
Odell Beckham Jr.: 288 catches, 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns in 43 games.
Mike Evans: 238 catches, 3,578 yards and 27 touchdowns in 46 games.
Kelvin Benjamin: 136 catches, 1,949 yards and 16 touchdowns in 32 games.
Brandin Cooks: 215 catches, 2,861 yards and 20 touchdowns in 42 games.
Odell Beckham, Mike Evans and Brandin Cooks have lived up to their full potential with their teams. Benjamin missed his second year in the league with a torn ACL, but he has stayed healthy when he does play. Watkins is a superstar when he makes plays, but he is fragile, which causes him to miss games.
His fifth-year option was declined
Four out of the five 2014 first round wide receivers’ fifth-year options were picked up by their teams. The Bills did not pick up Watkins’. This was a wake up call for Watkins. Now he needs to prove himself if he wants to stay a member of the Bills.
I wasn’t surprised to see the Bills decline the fifth-year option on Watkins. Seeing Watkins play is exciting because he is a true play maker, but that’s when he’s not battling an injury. Even if he does play through an injury, he’s still not the same player he is when healthy.
What kind of season does he need in order to stay?
If fans want to see Watkins in a Bills jersey after 2017, he will need to play in every game and make every play count. There is no room for him to be standing on the sidelines with an injury. With Tyrod Taylor coming back on a restructured contract, he will need to play out of his mind and Watkins is in a great position to help him.
With Zay Jones coming into town, it may be hard for Watkins to have a breakout season, seeing as both receivers have potential to be the #1 receiver on the team. Watkins has more experience and knows how the tempo of the game is. I think Jones is capable of handling the pressure that comes with being an NFL receiver, but Watkins has more of an advantage. This will help him setup for a great season that could possibly bring him back to Buffalo after 2017.